Almost everything that has happened in Mustafizur Rahman’s life hasn’t followed any plan.
“Right from accompanying my brothers to the local tournament by chance to suddenly getting a call for the national team, everything happened very quickly. But my family was very happy for me when they heard I was picked for Sunrisers Hyderabad,” Rahman told HT over phone from Hyderabad.
Deeply religious, Rahman said it was God’s wish that he made such a spectacular ODI debut against India (11 wickets in the first two matches). But was he taken aback by that shove from MS Dhoni? “No. It could have happened in any game. That is cricket. And anyway I was on the wrong side,” said Rahman. “You were?,” one checked again. “Yes,” Rahman kept it brief.
Rarely does a bowler get picked by an IPL side on the basis of just one series. And Rahman knows that it’s his slower cutter that has catapulted him to limelight. “I had no idea how to bowl it. In fact cricket happened to me by chance. There used to be tennis ball tournaments in our locality in Satkhira where my brothers used to play. I tagged along with them,” said Rahman.
“One day Milon bhai, one of the batsmen in that tournament, saw me bowling and asked my brothers to put me under a coach. I was 16 then. Only after that did I get start bowling seriously,” he said.
But it was not until a stint at the pace foundation camp in Dhaka did Rahman learn the delivery that’s now taking him places. “I was training with Taskin (Ahmed) bhai then when Bijoy bhai (Bangladesh player Anamul Haque asked me if I could bowl the slower one. I had no idea then. But the first ball that I tried moved after pitching. It got better with practice,” said Rahman.
Youngest among four brothers (Mahfuzar Rahman, Mokhlesur Rahman and Zakir Hossain), Rahman has always been the pampered and protected brother. During his debut series against India, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza used to accompany Rahman to the press conference. Mortaza isn’t here. But Rahman is not feeling out of place in a new team and completely different surroundings.
“I have met Ashish bhai (Nehra). He was very nice to me,” said Rahman.
Language has been a problem for Rahman but the 20-year-old said he is working on it. “After this, I will play county (at Sussex) so I need it,” he said. Only two Bangladeshis have played county before Rahman. And now, he is the second Bangladesh player after Shakib al Hasan to be part of this IPL.
Is he feeling any pressure? Rahman was earnestly honest. “I will try my best. This is my first time but I will try very hard,” he said.